The former director of the American Association of School Administrators outlines a coherent countervision for turning schools back into places that nurture children.

Getting Kids Ready for Democracy

Getting kids ready for democracy

Public education does not serve a public, it creates a public.

—Neil Postman

Most Americans do not realize that the original purpose of public schools was not to teach reading, writing, and arithmetic. Those were goals, but the first and most important goal, as I have already pointed out, was to teach civic virtue. The founders of our country realized that democracy was hard work and that only an educated populace could sustain it. Although at the time of the founding most citizens were white, Anglo Saxon Protestants, there was almost an intuitive sense that, eventually, this would be a country of diversity Certainly, we already had many former African residents, who, at the time, were given less ...

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